I’ve always been a party pooper when it comes to Easter baskets. Why give toddlers a year’s supply of candy when Halloween is only six months away? My husband’s family is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. His mom sent him Easter baskets full of candy in college, for Pete’s sake. She also still bought his clothes, but that’s a whole separate post.
We managed to postpone the Great Easter Basket Debate until last year, more than five years into parenthood. The Easter of reckoning came at his sister’s house. The eldest sister in a family of eight kids. The mini-matriarch. I’m the eldest too, but of three. I didn’t stand much of a chance.
My ace in the hole was the fact that we were driving home on Easter day and I couldn’t deal with having two sugared-up kids in the backseat. So Cindy came up with a compromise: Leave the basket-packing to her, and she promised the goodies would be an unparalleled success.
I did, and they were.
The boys barely noticed the candy amid the toy cars and coloring supplies and books and fun stuff. In fact, my 6-year-old still uses the "stinky" scented colored pencils from that Easter basket every time he does his homework. He LOVES them. And the distractions allowed the boys’ father to sneak most of the jellybeans and Peeps “before they dried out.”
My skepticism has been vanquished. Now when I see online tips like these from Super Kids Nutrition I don’t scoff at the idea of healthy Easter baskets. The trick, though, is to come up with things your kids will actually enjoy for more than two seconds – there’s not much financial sense in buying a bunch of random stuff. In our case, goodies includes toys that spin, Lego-type kits, Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems and flashlights.
Also consider the basket itself: Instead of an actual basket, fill something that can be used in active play. I’ve read about bike helmets, sandbox buckets, flower pots, dump trucks and even a fishing tackle box.
Here’s to a reduced-sugar Easter!
By Amy De La Hunt, Health Blogger for SmartParenting
Amy De La Hunt is a journalist and editor who lives in the St. Louis metro area and works across the country as a writer, copy editor, project manager and editorial consultant on everything from fiction books to monthly magazines to blog posts. When she's not chauffeuring her teenage sons to activities, Amy is an enthusiastic amateur cook, landscaper, Latin dancer and traveler. Follow Amy on Instagram @amy_in_words
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